Clearly from the title of this article, I’ve decided to join a dynasty league. A first year dynasty league that is! I shouldn’t start out by saying “building a winning dynasty team,” I guess, but I needed a line to grab your attention. Frankly, I am hoping that my team will be competitive straight away and stay that way. Well that’s my aim, anyway.
I’ve been playing fantasy for years and have been a NFL fan for many more than that. Each year I’ve played fantasy, I’ve tried to broaden my experience a little. The first year I played a simple 10-team redraft league with a pretty standard roster. It was a great experience and certainly an excellent introduction to fantasy. Mind you, playing just one league can be heart-breaking – especially as I didn’t make the finals that first year and once it was over, it felt like it the next season was impossibly far away!
Anyway, last year I played in an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league for the first time. The roster had a minimal contingent of offensive players (one of each more or less), but did have a large allocation of all of the defensive positions. Although I had (and still have) some reservations about it, it was an interesting year. It certainly is true that the first year that you play fantasy, you learn an incredible amount about all of the depths charts in the league.
Prior to starting fantasy, I knew a lot about my own team (San Diego Chargers) and less (but still a fair amount) about the teams in the AFC West. To a lesser extent, as a fan you always keep an ‘eye’ on your main competitors in the conference like the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but in general I didn’t know much about the teams in the NFC for instance.
Last year, I felt that I experienced that learning curve once more with the IDP league – and my NFL experience is better for it. So this year – it’s on to the next (possibly last) fantasy frontier – dynasty! Actually, come to think about it, I’ve never played a points-per-reception league either, but I don’t really have a burning desire to do so. Perhaps once you get used to one (fairly standard) way of scoring, you like to stick to it?
Looking through the NFL.com leagues, I found a dynasty league that had some appeal. Firstly, it is a start-up, so I am not inheriting a team that is badly constructed or contains players that I am not that keen on. Secondly, the roster looks really interesting.
How big a deal is it to have players that you are keen on? I know that fantasy purists will say that you should never let likes or dislikes of players or teams cloud your judgment. To an extent that is true. However, when I am choosing between players that I consider to be in the same tier, then I do like to favor players that I like on teams that I like. I think this will be amplified when drafting my starting dynasty roster!
On the offensive side of the ball, we must start one quarterback, three running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end and a kicker. There are two flex positions that can be a wide receiver, running back or a tight end. My first question to the league manager was “why the three running backs?” In a league of 12 teams, starting three running backs will be tough (I was thinking). His response was that he had given points to kick and punt returns. My first challenge of many!
Not having ever played in a league that awarded points for returns – suddenly I had to give this some thought. Interestingly, the top-20 running backs are still pretty much what you would expect, but breaking into the top-20 now are players like New York Giants’ David Wilson and New Orleans’ Darren Sproles. Now maybe you had those guys in your top-20 already?
On the defensive side of the ball, the roster consists of a team defense, three defensive players, three linebackers, three defensive backs and two IDP flex positions. Again I had a question – which might be one that you also have after reading this.”Just wondering – why the team defense if we have a starting lineup of 11 IDPs?” He responded that the scoring for team defense was just tweaked for special teams – so the rosters that we have are 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players and special teams. Sounds good to me!
There are 12 teams split into two divisions. Our draft date is set for mid-August and I am working on my draft board. Oh – and I forgot to mention – we have a bench of 15! I’ve been doing some mocks and it gets pretty hard by the time you are trying to pluck out names for your 38th-round pick! It sounds to me like the waiver wire will be almost irrelevant and that there will be more of an emphasis on trading (for now and the future), which I like the sound of!
I think it promises to be a really interesting year. Next time I write, I will start breaking down what I see as the values of positions from a dynasty perspective. I think it will be really interesting to see how the draft rolls out after having played many years of redraft leagues. What’s more, I’m looking forward to seeing how this league performs into the offseason. My hope is that it gives me something to do (especially during these slow months between the draft and training camp)!
Till next time: AJ signing off!